Running Shoes: Ratings of Sources
The editors of Runner's World assign a number of awards -- including Editor's Choice, Best Update and Best Debut to shoe models that debuted or were updated in 2015. Each review is based on hands-on testing and gets a short summary of how testers felt the shoes performed. Elsewhere on their site, the editors also offer a roundup of the best shoes of 2016 "so far."
SoleReview is essentially the Consumer Reports of shoe testing. They purchase new shoes to test every month, doing their own close-up product photography and breaking down every possible metric -- from heel and forefoot cushion to ground feel and fit -- into quantifiable ratings. Each shoe also receives a comparative percentage rating out of 100 possible.
The editors subject ten running shoes to hands-on testing and assign them each an overall comparative score, along with separate scores in categories like weight, responsiveness and landing comfort. They also assign special distinctions, such as Editor's Choice, Top Pick and Best Buy, and give thorough commentary on each shoe's performance. Elsewhere on their site, they also list six women's running shoes; only four percentage points separate the top and bottom women's models.
The editors subject an unknown number of shoes to "rigorous testing," ending up with thirteen that they dub the best of spring 2016. A series of abbreviations help designate each shoe's cushion, heel-to-toe drop and the ideal workout type for each model. Each shoe also receives a short paragraph of comments about the highs and lows of their performance and features. Elsewhere on their site, Competitor.com also lists a buyer's guide for 2015 shoe models.
The editors of GearPatrol.com tested 22 pairs of top-rated running shoes on New York City's roads, tracks and trails. They break down each short review into comments on fit, feel, and then and overall summary of how each tester felt the shoes had performed. The commentary is brief but balanced, and includes information about the testers' foot type, so you can imagine how yours compares.
The editors of WearTested.org perform hands-on evaluations of an unspecified number of minimalist shoes. They select two running shoes as Editor's Picks: A minimalist road shoe and a minimalist trail shoe. Elsewhere on their site, they also list a minimalist running shoes "hall of fame" and a collection of 2014 editor's picks as well.
A collection of runners blog about their footwear, running tips, race reviews and of course running shoes. In this roundup, a male and female reviewer each give their take on each shoe model that they've called out as the best. They also include picks for the best running gear, including shorts and jackets. Elsewhere on their site, they offer some scattered reviews of individual shoe models, with input from a variety of both male and female testers.
The author is a runner with flat feet who's done extensive research and hands-on testing to determine which shoes are best for his foot type. He also offers great information about what it actually means to have flat feet, and how that tends to affect your running stride by pushing you into overpronation, or excessive inward roll of the ankle. That's followed up with a list of the 10 best running shoes for flat feet; each one receives a comparative score out of 10.
Many of the customers posting reviews at RoadRunnerSports.com are serious runners, so their comments offer a valuable source of feedback on how the shoes in question respond to various workouts. These listings are also very helpful because they divide shoes into categories (neutral, stability, etc.), but they sometimes incorporate reviews posted to the manufacturer website.
As always, Amazon.com offers a rich source of user feedback on almost every type of running shoe created. It's not uncommon for the most popular models to have several hundred user reviews reflecting the wide variety of uses running shoes can be put to, from walking to work shoes to, of course, running. Standout models receive a score of 4.4 stars or better after at least 30 user reviews.